Jaggery vs Sugar Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Medicinal Uses

Jaggery, also known as gur or gud, is a traditional, unrefined sweetener made from the sap of palm or cane plants. It is a popular sweetener in India and many other countries in Asia and Africa, and is gaining popularity in other parts of the world. A delicious and healthy alternative to refined sugar and is gaining in popularity. With its unique flavor and nutritional benefits, it is a great way to sweeten up your favorite dishes and drinks.

Sugar Cane Jaggery in Cubes, Dome Shape and Powder Form
Sugarcane Jaggery in Cube and Dome Shape

Jaggery Nutrition Facts and Calories Chart

Jaggery is a traditional Indian sweetener that is made from either date palm sap or sugar cane juice. It is a concentrated product of cane juice and is dark brown in color. It is rich in minerals and vitamins, and is an excellent source of energy. Although jaggery is not as widely used as other sweeteners, it is gaining in popularity due to its unique flavor and nutritional benefits. Unlike refined sugar, jaggery is unprocessed, meaning it retains some of the vitamins and minerals found in the plant it was made from. It is also a good source of iron and calcium, which makes it a healthier alternative to other sweeteners. Jaggery also has a low glycemic index, meaning it will not cause a spike in blood sugar levels like other sugary foods. Nutritional value per 100 g:

  • Biotin: 0.00 μg
  • Calcium: 4.0 mg
  • Carbohydrates (Carbs): 83.7 g
  • Chloride: 0.3 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Choline: 0.3 mg
  • Chromium: 0.2 μg
  • Copper: 0.1 mg
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
  • Energy (Calories): 383 kcal
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Iodine: 0.0 μg
  • Iron: 2.2 mg
  • Magnesium: 6.0 mg
  • Manganese: 0.1 mg
  • Molybdenum: 0.0 μg
  • Pantothenic Acid: 0.2 mg
  • Phosphorus: 4.0 mg
  • Potassium: 107 mg
  • Protein: 0.2 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.1 g
  • Selenium: 0.3 μg
  • Sodium: 6.0 mg
  • Sugars: 83.4 g
  • Vitamin A: 0.0 IU
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 0.3 mg
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate / Folic Acid): 2.0 μg
  • Vitamin B12: 0.0 μg
  • Vitamin C: 0.0 mg
  • Vitamin D: 0.0 μg
  • Vitamin E: 0.0 mg
  • Vitamin K: 0.0 μg
  • Water: 7.7 g
  • Zinc: 0.1 mg

Jaggery in India

It is a mixture make by allowing the filtered sap or sugar cane juice to boil until it thickens. It is also a popular ingredient for dessert in India, Sri Lanka and Colombia.

  • Scientific Binomial: Indian molasses
  • Common English: Palm sugar / Brown Sugar / Brown Indian Sweetener
  • Ayurvedic: Guda
  • Unani
  • Sanskrit
  • Hindi / Urdu: Gudh / Gur
  • Bengali: Gur
  • Marathi: Gul
  • Telugu: Bellam
  • Tamil: Vellam
  • Gujarati
  • Kannada: Bella
  • Malayalam: Sarkkara
  • Oriya
  • Punjabi / Sindhi
  • Assamese
  • Kashmiri
  • Konkani
  • Manipuri
  • Dogri
  • Bhojpuri
How It’s Made?

Jaggery is made by boiling down the sap of the plant, which is then cooled and shaped into blocks or discs. It has a deep, dark color and a distinct, caramel-like flavor. Useful in a variety of ways, from baking to desserts and beverages. It is commonly useful to sweeten cakes and desserts, and also in savory dishes for a unique flavor. It is also a popular ingredient in drinks like tea and coffee. You may also add it to smoothies and juices for a natural sweetness.

Palm (karupatti) Vs Sugar Cane (Nattu Sakkarai )

There are different types of jaggery available in the market.

  • Palm Jaggery: Popular karupatti is the form of this kind of jaggery. Palm jaggery can be obtained from palmyra, date or coconut palm. Out of these palmyra palm variety is considered as most nutritious. Date palms chosen for jaggery making process are those with poor fruiting. Such date trees are useful to make palm sugar, molasses or alcoholic beverages. To prepare gudh from palm tree, the sap is collected from palm trees. It is then filtered and boiled down into a sticky brown, thick syrup which is called molasses. This molasse resembles to maple syrup. This process takes lots time as it involves heating the collected sap down to 80% concentration. On cooling molasse turn into rich dark crystallized sugar. Such granulated coconut sugar is popular in Thailand to use in instant coffee or tea. To give shape, thick syrup can be poured into half shells of coconut or tin can with rounded shape. In order to keep the jaggery dry some times it is rolled in flour or rice flour is added to the boiling thickening sap. This crude sugar is called gula jawa in Indonesia and is widely used in the Javanese cuisine.
  • Sugar Cane Jaggery: Sugarcane jaggery is produced by allowing the filtered sugar cane juice to boil until it thickens. Old jaggery is good as compare to new. If you visit any Indian village in the summer afternoon, they will welcome you with a small piece of jaggery and water. This is to cool you down and to energize instantly. Try it after coming home in the afternoon. It retains the minerals, nutrients and vitamins present in the sugar cane juice. Popular powder nattu sakkarai is the form of same kind of jaggery.

Health Benefits

According Ayurveda, jaggery is warm in nature and hence taken with formulas, prepared to treat cough and cold. Jaggery alone is not much useful in many home remedies but it blends well with other herbs and ingredients to make herbal medicine more effective.

  1. Frequent Urination: For bladder atonia, take one handful of white sesame seeds along with 1 teaspoon of jaggery followed by half a cup of water to wash it down. This is a very simple remedy to bring tone back to the bladder. Take it once or twice a day until your condition is better. This is also beneficial during frequent urination during pregnancy and also to help to correct the incontinence.
  2. Digestive Aid: For loss of appetite take 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder and 1 tablespoon of jaggery powder mixed together. Taking ground cumin with jaggery after meals cures stomachache.
  3. Bad Breath: To subside a foul smell after eating radish recipe, add a little piece of jaggery over the dish.
  4. Acidity: For acidity, take a tiny piece of jaggery every hour. Just keep it in mouth and slowly suck it till acidity subside.
  5. Dysentery: To treat dysentery, mix pulp of bael fruit with jaggery and take it thrice a day.
  6. Thorn in Foot: If thorn has stuck in foot and is not coming out, simply mix jaggery and carom seeds and tie on it. The thorn will come out on its own.

Rich Source of carbohydrates

Onions eaten with jaggery stimulate the growth of children. The consistency of it permits incorporation with vitamins, minerals and other additions with induced taste and the flavor of the jaggery. This is why it is most specially useful for school going children and as a bread spread. It is very good source of digestible carbohydrates to serve as a carrier for several micronutrients. Jaggery solution is an excellent food for typhoid patients.

Popular Healthy Recipes

High in vitamin B1, B2 and iron makes it good health tonic. It is useful in various healthy recipes. Here are few recipe ideas which you can try to get all health benefits in every day diet – Laddu, chikki, lapsi, pongal, kummayam, urundai, modak / kozhukkattai, puranpoli, sheera / suji ka halwa, appam, anarase, rasmalai, kheer, payasam, khaja, pulikacchal, phirni, ada pradhaman. It blend very well with sour and bitter recipes. Hence used in the preparations like bitter melon curry (pitlai), sambar, etc..

1. Sesame Seed Laddu

Roasted sesame seeds, groundnuts and jaggery makes very healthy iron rich sweet treat. Just powder the groundnuts and sesame seeds together. Add gud powder or syrup and make small balls binding with the hands. Apply some ghee on palms if necessary.

2. Chikki

It is confection popular in Maharashtra. Peanuts, coconut, sesame seed are some traditional versions of chikki. It is prepared by adding boiling jaggery solution to dry powder (either of peanuts, coconut or sesame seed). Spread warm mixture on a metallic sheet and then cut into small rectangular pieces.

3. Milagai Podi

It is a ground powder made of sesame, lentils and dry chili with jaggery. It is popular in Tamil Nadu. When eaten with dosa or idli, it enhances flavor.

4. Dry Fruit Delight

Healthy nuts such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, raisins and dates along with jaggery can make tasty, quick dry fruit treat. Roughly chop all available dry fruits and add jaggery on it. Spread the mixture on sheet and cut in any desired shape. To make syrup add little ghee in pan, warm it. Add jaggery powder and let it melt on low heat till turns into liquid form. Finally, do not over heat as it may turn black or chewy.

5. Raw Mango Recipes

Raw mango (kairi) and jaggery shared a unique bond and useful in making many traditional recipes. Green mango curry, meth-amba (methamba), Aam Panna, Kairee Pickle, Chunda, Rasam, Jam, Pachadi, Chutney, Murabba are few names to mention.

Side Effects and Precaution

Even though palm jaggery has many health benefits, it needs to be used with few precautions. In India it is considered to be hot food and is forbidden during pregnancy for fear of abortion. Some products marketed as jaggery contains chemical called super phosphate which damages health. Avoid white neat looking jaggery as it contains super phosphate. The ugly dark looking variety is usually the best.


Q. Can jaggery be a sugar substitute?
Jaggery is popular as brown Indian sweetener else where in the world. It is warm in nature and hence good to improve digestion and to treat cough, cold and sinus related problems. Jaggery is a backbone of many Ayurvedic Asavas. It is an unrefined sugar made from the juice of crushed sugarcane stalks. It is also useful in many Indian dishes to make it sweet and used as sugar substitute. But in case of diabetes, it is not useful as sugar substitute. The base ingredient in jaggery and sugar is the same that is sugar cane juice which is a rich combination of fructose and glucose. Any whole cane sugar such as the Sucanat and Florida Crystals brands of cane sugar are similar to jaggery.

Q. What is Palm Jaggery and what are it’s health benefits?
Sap from cut inflorescence stalk of sugar Palm (Arenga Palm) is extracted to make palm sugar and jaggery. This sap juice is also useful to make fresh drink, saguir or lightly fermented beverage, and vinegar. Palmyra palm, Toddy palm, Fish Tail palm, Coconut palm and Date palm are useful in same way to form jaggery. The palm jaggery contains carbohydrates, appreciable amounts of vitamin B complex and minerals (iron is present in an easily assimilatory form). The concentration of amino acids in palm variety is much higher than in sugar cane jaggery. It is useful as an energy food for recovering patients. Also useful in anemia. It exhibits a mild laxative effect.

Iron11.01 mg
Copper0.767 mg
Nutrition Value of Palmyra palm jaggery per 100 g.

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